Dundee – South Africa, the heart for a Battlefields Trip
This was my first time to Dundee, well Dundee in South Africa. I have been to Dundee in Scotland and I can assure you it was certainly not as cold not was it all rock! No Dundee in South Africa has its roots in coal, and there is the black stuff everywhere. The town itself is a mix of people, but on the outskirts the trains are loading and taking their precious cargo to the coal fired power stations many miles away.
Staying in Dundee, South Africa
I was in Dundee for a completely different reason though. Dundee has the most quaint and perfectly positioned hotel one could ask for. Not only is it a delight to look at from the front, but inside a world far removed from our modern trappings exists. It is beautiful, with wooden floors polished to within an inch of their lives and a courtyard garden that is an absolute delight. The rooms spacious and there is even a cheaper alternative for the backpacker offered to the rear of the hotel, equally well presented you will be amazed at this little find.
The hotel is called The Royal Country Inn and has been there since 1886. I had the pleasure of sleeping in both the backpacker room and a family room and I can say they are beautiful and functional. The staff couldn’t be more pleasant and helpful and the pub within the hotel is just perfect. Don’t just take my word for it, please visit it and see it for yourself. You will not be disappointed.
Battlefields Tour of KwaZulu-Natal
However, the reason I arrived at this wonderful retreat from the frantic pace of the world around us was because I was on a Battlefields tour with a friend from England. He wanted to learn more about the British movements in the local area and we set off in search of those amazing events that happened in KwaZulu-Natal. He had already sought the services of a guide for the tour over two exciting and informative days and we were rearing to go.
Arriving the night prior to the start of the tour we settle in and admired all the memrobelia in the hotel. It is well presented and certainly had us excited for the tour the next day. Promptly at 08:30 we were met by Johann Hamman of History’s Walk who would be our guide for the next two days. After brief introductions we got underway and head for the hills. First stop was Isandlwana.
We took turns at discussing how the battle began and what troops were deployed. Johann stopped and explained various locations of importance of the way and we began getting to know one another rather well. We stopped at the museaum and bought our entry tickets to the well preserved Battlefield and after a cup of coffee headed off to see what occured the day of the attack. The British making some horrendous mistakes and the Zulus being very astute over ran the attacking forces with ease. To be honest I could not even write all that we learned about that terrifying day, but to say it must have been horrifing for all concerned.
We got back in Johann’s car and continued on our way to Rouke’s Drift where an entirely different battle ensued between the British and the Zulus. When I stood on the space that was held by the British for what must have seemed an eternity while thousands of Zulu Warriors attacked, I was overcome with the feeling for the night. Fire and gunshot, screaming and black smaoke all around. For both sides these two battles, which occour on the same day, caused massive loss and pain. Johann was fantastic in telling the story and gracious in answering our questions throughout the day.
Ladysmith and Spioenkop
The second day we went in the opposite direction to Ladysmith and then to Spioenkop. In Ladysmith we were guided through the museum and then to stand on the Hill of Spioenkop and see the Drakensburg mountains to the West and the flat plains to the West it was a chilling place, yet so beautiful. The battle that occured here between the South African Boers and British was one that will remain a testament to the Boer determination to ensure their country rights.
We returned to The Royal Country Inn for our last night, and I have to say that we could easily have stayed longer. The hotel was fantastic, Johann was descriptive and informative and on the whole something I had not expected.
If you are venturing to see the Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal and happen to be in this area, I suggest a stay at the Royal Country Inn and at least a day with Johann to help you understand the significance of where you are. Amazing in history.
What a Landscape!
The story does not end there though, right near by are amazing views, steep mountain passes and plenty of peace, but then you will have to visit to find the amazing spaces and feel the relaxation of Dundee, South Africa.
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